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Pumpkin chuckers come from nearby, far away

October 7, 2012

Photo courtesy of contest headquarters Members of a Blackfoot High School team practice with their egg launchers before the competition on Saturday. Participants include Jacob Denning launching with Kohl Bingham and Ben Hong watching and Craig Rowland examining the safety of the launcher.

About 60 people, including a group of elementary school students from Ketchum, braved chilly conditions to show off their building skills on Saturday.
They came to a field outside the Wild Adventure Corn Maze for the Angry Pumpkin Chuckin' contest. Participants built catapults to launch their gourds. Truth be told, more participated in the egg launcher category.
A team from Blackfoot High School, a Boy Scout troop from the Blackfoot 12th LDS Ward and one from the Society for Creative Anachronism had full scale catapults.
"We built this for use in combats," said Ken Wilson of the Society. "This is a really good time to play with it."
Wilson, who works for Pocatello city, joined with teammates Mariha Berrett of Idaho Falls and Tarra Stout, Steven Willden and Bret Anderson, all of Pocatello, in dressing in medieval clothing for their participation in the contest.
Huckle Dirksmeier and Logan Wojtik of Ketchum both said they came, "so we can have fun and learn."
"We learned teamwork, science and math," Wojtik said.
Austin Mathus of Blackfoot High School, a calculus student, said, "we learned we need to plan better" as he and teammates worked on their egg launcher.
"We've been calculating the trajectory of the egg and about where it's supposed to go."
Wilson, said he and his teammates said, "you learn a bit about engineering and you learn some history, too.
"And," he added, pumpkins make a satisfying noise when they hit, too."
One of Blackfoot High's teams, called Bustin' Dronin, won the egg launchers distance competition with a "chuck" of 284 feet, 4 inches. Dead Egg from Sun Valley was second with Webelos of Blackfoot third.
In the accuracy competition, Bustin' Dronin came within 13 inches of its target. Egg Cannons was second with The Best Team third.
In the professional division, Physics Catapult from Blackfoot High threw its pumpkin 586-feet-9. Broken Rock of Pocatello (the medieval society) was second at 229-7 and Stripling Warriors (the Scouts) was third.
Stripling Warriors won the accuracy award with Broken Rock second and Physics Catapult third.
Physics Catapult won the speed competition at 52 miles per hours with Broken Rock at 44 mph and Stripling Warriors at 34 mph.
"This is applied, hands-on education," said Richard Johnson, who created the contest with the help of Snake River teacher Elaine Asmus, who had conducted a previous contest.
Johnson took the records from Asmus' competition and noted that Saturday's competitors set three new records.

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